DREAMS AND REALITIES – LOST VS. LOSS (This post could be called any number of things… “I’m just waiting to get better..” or ” Oh, but you look really well….”)


DREAMS AND REALITIES –  Assignment 3, Unit 2,  Tasks 2 & 1

(1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)



(This post could be called any number of things… “I’m just waiting to get better..” or ” Oh, but you look really well….”)

(Research and personal images – part 6)

RESEARCH (1.1, 1.2)

Whilst mooching about on Pinterest the other day, I came across this lovely image. To me it portrays a sense of emotion and loss, of fading and losing oneself.  YOu can see what once was.

(Sadly, there are no credits for any of these images, so they’ll remain as found images)


And also these….. These images may come in useful for my next blog post. These images give me a sense of the missing. Introspection and their incomplete-ness. The black and white enhances the images, I dont think they would have quite the same impact in colour.


DREAMS and REALITIES – IMAGES (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)

Through, or should I say despite illness, I am having to find a new self.  I’m not always sure where it’s taking me, and for the longest time I battled against the acceptance of illness, constantly wishing the old me back, and fearful that acceptance meant ‘giving in; somehow.  Then a conversation with a fellow, but relatively recently diagnosed sufferer, at a mutual support group led to this lovely lady saying to me, “I’m just waiting to get better…”  It’s hard to hear that now.  I was in that place too for the longest time.

Well meaning friends and family, even will say “Oh, but you look really well…” and as much as I know they’re trying to be supportive, it’s not helping. If anything, people who are chronic illness sufferers come quite often from a place of being dismissed or disbelieved, by the medical profession (more often than you’d think) by family, and even by friends. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. You can’t see magnetic fields, or gravity, but they’re very definitely there! (thank goodness)

There but not there.

Abstract. taken on Galaxy S6 phone


We were given free reign with this project… and it has taken on a life of it’s own for me. I think with this project, our images don’t need to be purely symbolic, they can be about pattern and texture. This second image shows, lines acros my face. My life has been fractured to some degree but there is light shining through the cracks, which is one of the reasons I think it would best be printed on a translucent medium.

I was a little bit apprehensive about using my mobile phone editing suite to make images, but with two missed college days, half-term, 3 exhibitions, some health issues, the arrival of a new Grandaughter (Ohh, my heart <3) and Tripod Carrier away on business most of this month,  I haven’t had a lot of time for using my camera (…phew, no wonder I’ve not had much time!) or been much able to practice using Photoshop. I made these images using my Galaxy S6 and Snapseed (I downloaded the free app) on my mobile phone.  I took two selfies, and then used the tools to draw, scratch, change colour and contrast and tone.

These two images were recently used within the college environment at a meeting to talk about invisible illness and prescribing therapies. Which is, incidentally how I found my way to this course, via a Wellbeing course.  The local council are keen to be involved with the college in this new way of treating long term, mental and physical health problems. There was even some talk of the possibility of holding an exhibition, next year, on the subject and to include work from other students on these subjects. I’ve also had lots of positive feedback from fellow students and friends too, thank you.  🙂

I have always had a quite irrational fear of getting lost… but so what if I do? I’ll still be somewhere – as my clever 10 year old Grandson pointed out to me once.  I’ve even started a new course to help come to terms with long term disability, but that’s also helping me come to terms with all the loss, but there are good things coming too. New creativity, new skills, new coping strategies.  Underneath all this doodling, my original images are still there… but not there. So although the old me is still clinging on for some reason, there is a new embryonic me forming. This course has probably been a part of that development. Of finding my way.



ps… I hope you’ll indulge just one photo of my beautiful new Grandaughter, Eleri

Eleri f5.6 1/15s 31mm ISO1.6



Images my own and research images from Pinterest and Google












DREAMS AND REALITIES –  Assignment 3, Unit 2,  Tasks 2 & 1  1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

(research and images – part 4)

It’s all smoke and mirrors, isn’t it?

Image taken on Samsung Galaxy S6


So, I wasn’t in class last week, because of a migraine.  I understand that the rest of my classmates were delving a little deeper into Photoshop. This is super scary for a girly technophobe like me!  Not that I’m making excuses here, I’ve done what I can, with what I have ( I am the Queen of Make do and Mend, lol)  Tripod Carrier and I don’t have Photoshop software available at home. We use the much more “clunky” (as Ria described it) GIMP editing software. Please be careful Googling that one!

I think am a little cautious about the possibility of grandstanding with the whole Invisible Illness theme. Whilst we’re on the subject though, did you notice last week was Invisible Illness Awareness Week? …And Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was Saturday.  No?? Missed it?? Completely?? 😦  Well….I’m not surprised There were no fanfares or press days, or fun runs. That’s because we are pretty much invisible. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these illnesses, the people who organise these events really need to be ‘well people’ or ‘normals’, as we ‘spoonies and warriors’ like to call people without invisible diseases.  They need to be organised and supported by family, friends, carers.  They definitely need funding.  The charities that support invisible illness are pretty well under funded, and under represented, generally.  I have no answers just observations.


For my part in this weeks’ assignment, I am shamelessly borrowing from a publicity event that was held in Morecambe, last Saturday.  It was small and local, simple but heartfelt and effective. The families of people affected by invisible illness left their loved ones’ shoes on a flight of stone steps, with a label that gave their name, disability and length of time since diagnosis. The best way I can represent this is to demonstrate in my own photographic tribute.



I have taken two images, one of myself sitting on the stairs, with shoes on, and a second single exposure of myself walking away, as if they had been left there by some person that is missing in some way.  I chose the stairs, because they represent for me, a daily challenge, and in these images my ascent on the staircase is my determination to rise above being missing from life.





f5.3 1/80s ISO1250 30mm OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Missing. f5.3 1/80s ISO1250 30mm

The camera was on a tripod so it didn’t move between the two shots.  I did try to take the image using a multiple exposure but there were some technical difficulties.  I just couldn’t do it on my own  (…because I have a cable attached to the shutter remote, and it wouldn’t reach up the stairs, and I was very much hampered in the tiny space that is my hallway!) so this method seems to have worked out for the best. The lighting rig, such as it was, consisted of an anglepoise lamp carefully draped and taped over the door. My trusty Tripod Carrier (promoted to assistant) took the image for me, since I was to be the model. In post editing, I made the first image black & white, and then overlaid the second with a colour image which would represent a er.. brighter, ‘colourful’ life. The shoes are some of my favourites. Sadly, I don’t get to wear them much these days because of the pain that wearing heels causes in my legs for days afterwards.  They represent the old me.

I’m pleased with the use of colour, and black and white on the two different images because the monotone adds something to the ‘missing-ness’ whilst the colour of the second, overlaid image bring a sense of leaving that behind.  I think it says what I was hoping for, although maybe a longer staircase, or much less enclosed spaced might have been better…? Perhaps this is an image I could revisit at a later date, outdoors, on a sweeping stone staircase?

I don’t think there are any rules for this assignment about only using our DSLR’s. The brief says that we should explore alternative presentation,  investigate materials and media…so I ‘m going to just put this one out there.

This series of images have come from one rather unattractive photo of me (Well, I’d certainly rather not post it here anyway 😦 )  that I took on my mobile phone. Since I am still trying to get to grips with photo editing, but am kind of used to using phone editing for social media, I thought I would use the various editing tools on the camera phone to fade, shade, ‘scratch’ and colourise the image to different effects.

We all have a social media life, these days. We all show a ‘public face’. But there’s another side to that story usually, isn’t there? A dear friend (and fellow invisible illness sufferer)  told me recently that she had been feeling very low but didn’t want to call me, because on Facebook, I seem so together, and so happy and well.  “Facebook me” I said. “It’s all smoke and mirrors, isn’t it..?”

These images represent how I feel despite ‘looking well’.. It represents that probably half of me is hidden, scratched out by; overwhelming tiredness and/or pain, anxiety and depression. Or both. The only way I can explain it is, that the colours go.  I can fake it (the far right image) with colour… make up, and a smile sometimes, but those that know me can tell.






With a small apology to those who may be yawning a little at this project being quite so self indulgent. I suppose this is a kind of self portrait project.  A prospect that might have horrified me not so long ago.  I didn’t originally set out to work on something quite so personal as this assignment is turning out to be, but I’m encouraged by my tutor, and fellow classmates, and the more I thought about it the more it mattered to me.

For all that know me, I seem to be rather an extrovert.  Lively. Colourful, even… People always tell me that I look well, (even my GP – who knows I’m not!)  but they don’t often see the shadow of a person I have become since my illness. The sad me, sitting on a sofa, feeling too much in pain to do anything, or see anyone.  Of course there is more to me than invisible illness, and I was once told not to let it define me, but you see, it does, because it colours (…or maybe it’ greys?) every part of my life.

I don’t think this project is going to be my life’s work, exactly.  It doesn’t do me much good to be too introspective. But right now, I know it’s important to me. I begin each year by choosing two words that will guide me through the year. This year, I chose ‘Change’ and ‘Growth’.  In brackets I would add (Learn and Create) I’m doing both.

Okay, no more grandstanding….for now, anyway.  (steps down off soapbox and leaves quietly.)



p.s. If you would like to learn more about #missingmillions, the campaign to support people with invisible illnesses such as M.E.,  F.M., and C.F.S. there is a short Youtube video here




4 thoughts on “DREAMS AND REALITIES – LOST VS. LOSS (This post could be called any number of things… “I’m just waiting to get better..” or ” Oh, but you look really well….”)

  1. Some great shots here lovely, you put so much of yourself into your work and seem to find a way to photograph the message you’re giving us. Your illness isn’t invisible to me, you know that.xxx

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